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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, September 26, 2013

Date published:
September 26, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Georgia gets newest NICA high school cycling league

    From Left to Right: Kenny Griffin (Georgia Founding Committee), Eddie O'dea (Georgia Founding Committee), Austin McInerny (NICA Executive Director), Dan Brooks (Georgia Executive Director), Rick Spittler (NICA Board President).
    Article published:
    September 19, 2013, 21:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Southeast US mountain biking gets a boost

    The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), a youth development organization governing high school mountain biking in the United States, announced Georgia as the newest state in its nationally-expanding high school cycling program. The announcement was made at a press conference during the annual Interbike trade show in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

    "Georgia has a special place in mountain bike history, as the place where the sport was added into to the Olympic program, and we are pleased to welcome the Georgia league into the flourishing NICA community," said Austin McInerny, executive director of NICA.

    "Dan Brooks, as a new league director, brings with him a powerful statewide grassroots movement that strongly supports his passion for mountain biking and youth development. Our national NICA staff have already started providing training and support as the Georgia league prepares for its inaugural season beginning March 2014."

    "We look forward to working with NICA to bring organized high school mountain bike racing to Georgia," said Brooks. "Mountain biking is tremendously popular in this state, and a lot of students and their families will benefit from the NICA program. Georgia has ample infrastructure to support a high school mountain biking league and our robust cycling community will certainly make this a success."

    NICA's mission is to provide high school mountain biking coast-to-coast by 2020 and is well on the way to achieving this goal. With 10 current leagues, NICA has nearly 1,000 licensed coaches who are working with approximately 3,000 student-athletes.

  • Leogang hosts downhill World Cup finals and four cross Worlds

    Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing)
    Article published:
    September 20, 2013, 15:18 BST
    Cycling News

    Gravity riders to spend weekend racing in Austria

    Gravity racers from around the globe are in Saalfelden Leogang, Austria for a weekend of competition including the downhill UCI World Cup finals and the four cross world championships.

    After the successful realization of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2012, the UCI did not require much convincing that four cross Worlds and a stop on the World Cup should return to Saalfelden Leogang for another year. All other disciplines of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships have already happened for this season.

    "We have already proved with the past world championships that hosting this event in Saalfelden Leogang is the best advertisement for mountain biking," said Director of the organizational committee Kornel Grundner.

    "The enthusiasm of the visitors as well as the athletes and the engagement of the local community and volunteers speaks for itself. Moreover, one year later, and the enthusiasm is still prominent and everyone is eagerly awaiting the next event."

    In the four cross competition riders like Scott Beaumont and former world champion Caroline Buchanan are ones to watch.

    Fans can also look forward to watching recently crowned downhill world champions Greg Minaar and Rachel Atherton. World Cup leader Gee Atherton, nearest challenger Steve Smith and the local hero Markus Pekoll are just some of heavy hitters on the starting list

    2014 UCI Four Cross World Championships & Downhill World Cup finals
    Friday, September 20: Four cross qualifying
    Saturday, September 21: Downhill qualifying
    Saturday, September 21: Four cross finals
    Sunday, September 22: Downhill World Cup finals

    See the start list for this weekend's races.

  • Buchanan wins second world title this year

    The stunning scenery in Leogang
    Article published:
    September 22, 2013, 3:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Strikes up fifth rainbow jersey at just 23

    Australia's Caroline Buchanan won the UCI Four Cross World Championships in Leogang, Austria, ahead of Katy Curd (Great Britain) and Anneke Beerten (Netherlands).

    Buchanan started her year with the audacious plan to achieve a unique cycling world championship ‘triple crown' by chasing gold at the respective BMX, downhill and four cross world titles.

    The 23-year-old got the ball rolling by comfortably winning the BMX world title in New Zealand in August. Less than four weeks later, she finished fifth in the Downhill at the UCI MTB and Trials Championships in South Africa. Now she has claimed her second rainbow jersey for the year and proven that her initial plans were not as lofty as they may have initially seemed.

    "This is my fifth career world championship title and it was one of the hardest to win," said Buchanan after winning her third career 4X world title after claiming the crowns in 2009 and 2010 as well as the 2012 BMX time trial world title.

    "This year has been a huge challenge. I set myself big goals, three world championships in two months," she added. "BMX world champion, Downhill fifth in the world and now 4X world champion for the third time.

    "It's not easy but the hard work is worth it. Time to breath and take stock. I'm so grateful for my support network."

    In the final, Buchanan started swiftly to establish an early gap and never looked back.

    Tony Scott, executive officer of Mountain Bike Australia was similarly thrilled with Buchanan's performances throughout the year.

    "It is hard enough to be a single world champion in one year; the pressure is just so intense," said Scott. "So the win in Leogang to now possess both the BMX and 4X world champion rainbow jersey...

  • Hosting mountain bike Worlds pays off for Pietermaritzburg

    Description: The crowd at the finish of the men's downhill on the final Sunday of the UCI MTB and Trials World Championships was proof that the city of Pietermaritzburg was able to host a world class event and the benefits of such an event will be felt by the city well into the future.
    Article published:
    September 24, 2013, 15:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Three billion rand worth of economic activity

    After the dust has settled and the wheels stopped turning, the local organising committee of the UCI Mountain Bike Masters and Elite Mountain Bike World Championships triggered an economic boom for the city of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa and its broader regional economy worth R3 billion in direct economic activity and media exposure. (1 Rand = US$0.10 and 1Rand = 0.06 GBP at the time of this posting. -ed.)

    The masters competition alone had 591 competitors, largely South African but, if you include support staff and families the number of people that were in the city sits at an estimated 1,491 people over the duration of the event.

    The elite UCI MTB World Championships was seen as the signature event of the whole stay and 903 riders were accredited to compete in the event. This coupled with the large support crews that the teams brought with them brought the overall figure to 1,866 people staying for the duration of the elite Worlds.

    The economic impact can now be estimated, and they have worked out a conservative estimate as to how much money each of the events would have brought into the city. Over the masters event, the estimate was slightly over R10.3 million. The elite event saw the city pull in just under R33.7 million. These amounts were just for the competitors and crews over the two weeks of the competitions.

    The media contingent was just over 200 strong and that meant that they too were responsible for bringing in a fair sum of money into the city. It was estimated that the entire media contingent brought in just over R2 million in Pietermaritzburg over the duration of the Worlds.

    Adding up all of these figures means that all-in-all the event brought in an estimated total of R46,038,700 over the duration of both events. This, coupled with the benefits that the event brought to the community of Pietermaritzburg, tends to...

  • Wichman closes out career with four cross world title

    Joost Wichman stands atop the elite men's four cross world championship podium
    Article published:
    September 24, 2013, 16:47 BST
    Cycling News

    Dutchman successful in Leogang

    Joost Wichman (Rose Vaujany) closed out a successful career this weekend by winning his first four cross world championships title.

    "It has been a long time coming, but I finally got it now," said Wichman. "Before the race, I talked to [teammate] Katy [Curd] because she was very nervous. I told her that she only could control her own racing and that she did not have control of other the riders and other factors like the weather. It's no use getting stressed about how fast someone else is or if it's gonna rain or not, because this is something you do not have control of."

    "After I did this pep talk, I started thinking about myself, that this is actually true... and this gave me a very strong and confident feeling. Besides this, I knew it was going to be my last four cross world championships. Before the race, I wrote on the back of my number plate 'LAST CHANCE', and my trainer wrote me a text: 'Do not screw this up!'. That was the only thing that was on my mind, I did not want to cross the finish line with the feeling 'what if'. Also if I did not win, I wanted to say to myself that I gave it my all.

    The 35-year-old Dutch rider outsmarted his opponents in a thrilling finale in Leogang, Austria on Saturday. Wichman rode a tactical ride and waited for his opportunity. After the first corner, he was still last, but he pushed into second place after Tomas Slavik and Michael Mechura tangled up. His ultimate attack, at the end of the last straight, was just enough to take the lead and cross the line in first position. Mechura from the Czech Republic was second, Frenchman Quentin Derbier was third.

    The world title is the highlight of Wichman's career. In 2011, he crashed while leading the world championships and left with a disappointing bronze medal. This year, he rode fewer races, due to injuries and...

  • UCI announces locations for 2015 and 2016 Mountain Bike Worlds

    The start of the elite men's cross country race in Andorra
    Article published:
    September 25, 2013, 20:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Hosts for 2014 masters 'cross and 2016 elite track Worlds also selected

    Following a meeting of the UCI Management Committee at the UCI Road World Championships in Florence, Italy on Wednesday, the UCI announced the location of several mountain bike, cross and track world championships coming up in 2014-2016.

    The 2015 UCI Elite Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships will be held in Vallnord, Andorra.  The UCI had previously announced that the 2014 Elite Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships would be held in Hafjell, Norway and the 2017 edition will be held in Cairns, Australia.  A location for 2016 has not yet been announced.

    Laissac, France was also awarded the honor of hosting the 2016 UCI Marathon Mountain Bike World Championships.

    At the same time, the UCI also named Gossau, Switzerland as the host of the 2014 UCI Cyclo-cross Masters World Championships and London, United Kingdom as the host of the 2016 UCI Track World Championships.

    UCI President Pat McQuaid congratulated the host city organisers for their commitment to cycling. "It is a great pleasure to see towns and cities so enthusiastically supporting our different cycling disciplines - and not only the events catering to professionals but also the very important championships for Masters athletes."

    "On behalf of the UCI, I would like to thank and congratulate these four future hosts of the major UCI events taking place in the next three years. Their enthusiasm and commitment means that we can be sure the events will live up to the expectations of competitors and spectators alike."

    The Management Committee was also informed that the first edition of the UCI Cycling Forum, which brings together all of cycling's stakeholders, will be held between the November 25-29, 2014 in the Olympic capital of Lausanne, Switzerland.

    The UCI Management Committee meeting continues tomorrow.

  • Eliminator mountain bike World Cup changes coming

    The elite men's final heat of the Canadian eliminator championship
    Article published:
    September 26, 2013, 17:40 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    2015 likely to be first year affected

    The eliminator, a relatively new sprint-oriented cross country discipline in mountain biking, will likely see some changes in the future, especially with how it is counted within the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. While plans are in the works to integrate the eliminator World Cup standings with the cross country World Cup standings, those changes are not expected to take effect until the 2015 season.

    The birth of the eliminator

    The first eliminator world championships was in 2012, and 2013 marked the first year the discipline had its very own World Cup standings. The eliminator came into existence as a way to give World Cup mountain bikers another chance to compete during any given World Cup weekend.

    "Three years ago, the teams came to us and asked for us to consider another event in a World Cup weekend," UCI Technical Delegate Simon Burney told Cyclingnews.

    "They arrive on a Monday or Tuesday to a World Cup, set up and sit around. They go training and they don't really do anything else. They thought it would be great to have another event in there - great for the riders, the sponsors, the organizers." The extra event - another chance for a good result - would help justify all the expenses of travelling to the World Cups.

    The first eliminator at a World Cup was run at the Nove Mesto World Cup in the Czech Republic. "They had a history of having an eliminator before they ever got a World Cup," said Burney. "They asked if they could do one for the World Cup. We agreed. That's how the eliminator first came to be."

    Olympic dreams

    With the first-ever World Cup series for eliminator happening in 2013, the young discipline seemed to be headed to the big time. There was even the possibility of adding it to the 2016 Olympics.

    "Last year, the IOC asked the UCI - not the other way around - if we would nominate the eliminator and BMX freestyle to...

  • Gallery: Frischknecht and Giger set record for amount of descending in one day

    Thomas Frischknecht and Thomas Giger riding downhill
    Article published:
    September 26, 2013, 22:01 BST
    Cycling News

    13,572m logged by former cross country world champ

    Thomas Frischknecht and Thomas Giger set a new unofficial world record for the descending in one day on a mountain bike. They dropped 13,572 vertical meters on singletrack in one day during 14 different descents during a ride time of more than 13 hours.

    Former professional mountain bike racer and Scott Swisspower team manager Frischknecht and tour guide Giger set their record in Davos Klosters this past Monday.

    The effort pushed the limit of what can be done on a mountain bike. Frischknecht and Giger set off before sunrise on top of Davos' Jakobshorn (2590m), and they arrived at the little village of Küblis just after it had gotten dark.

    "I am still a mountain biker with heart and soul. The ride today was just breath-taking, almost an overdose of superb alpine mountain biking," said three-time world champion Frischknecht. "And it is a very special feeling having mastered a project that no one has ever tried before."

    The "Bahnentour Davos Klosters" served as the basic framework for the record ride, as this mountain bike tour already offered 10,000 vertical meters of descending on a single day by making good use of the various cable cars, gondolas and chairlifts in the region. While many riders fail to complete the entire loop and end up doing far less descents, Giger, the inventor of the Bahnentour soon realized that the limit of what could be done had not been reached yet.

    "Davos Klosters has way more singletrack descents than I could integrate into the original Bahnentour. I knew I could set a new world record up here, and it did not take much to convince Thomas Frischknecht to join me on that record attempt," Giger said.

    Rather than setting a new world record, he was looking for the unique experience of going to the very limits of what is possible. "The first descent in the early morning and the final descent from the top of the Weissfluh were so impressive that I will remember this particular day for the...